Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving in Ireland

Today is the fourth Thursday in November which means that it is Thanksgiving in America or as they call in Ireland, "Thursday."  One can imagine how hard it is to be away from your friends and family on day that is centered around family and tradition.  Despite us being away from home on such a special holiday, the faculty and staff at the Gaelscoil made us feel very loved and helped celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  The first thing we noticed when walked up on the school this morning was two American flags on the flag pole alongside the Irish flag.  I thought that was a very kind and thoughtful thing to do for us Americans' while at their school.

American Flags at the Gaelscoil on Thanksgiving
 Since Thanksgiving is  an American holiday we thought it would be a lovely idea to go around to each of the classes and teach about the holiday.  We taught the history and traditions that go along with the nationally celebrated holiday.  We made several different presentations that were developmentally appropriate for the different age groups.  For example, the junior and senior infants (equate to preschool and kindergarten) presentations only included relevant pictures and didn't go as much in depth with the historical background but more or less how the holiday is celebrated.

The fourth, fifth and sixth classes I absolutely loved teaching because I am such a history nerd and I could really unload some historical facts on them on the subject.  The students' really found it all to be really interesting.  The students' had so many questions about the holiday and the different traditions that went along with the holiday.  The students' enjoyed it so much that one asked, "Is that the last slide?  I really enjoyed it."  Our Thanksgiving feast is very similar to their Christmas Day meal, or that is what they kept telling me.

In addition to teaching about the holiday I was fortunate enough to do some Thanksgiving arts and crafts with the students'.  In the third class (third grade) I had them draw turkey hands and write what they were thankful for on each finger.  I really emphasized that Thanksgiving was more or less a time to show thanks for everything in your life and it is a time to show your gratitude towards things in your life.  I had a lot of students' write that they were thankful for family, friends, survival, being alive and chocolate (I'm thankful for that, too).  I even had one student write that he was thankful for me.  How sweet?

With the fourth class (fourth grade) we painted our palms and created turkeys out of those and they were able to decorate them however they liked.  The strong theme running through the turkeys in the fourth class was America! The majority of the students' either painted an American flag as the background or had a flag hanging out of the turkeys mouth.  They loved the activity and they all got super creative with it.  I even had one student place his turkey hand on a dinner plate and put corn and carrots around the turkey.  Their teacher was saying that this might have to be a tradition that they keep alive each year in the future. 

 I can not adequately explain how generous and thoughtful that the faculty and staff are in the Gaelscoil.  They are FABULOUS.  So fabulous that they provided us with a Thanksgiving meal at lunch time.  Granted, it wasn't your traditional turkey and mashed potatoes but it was the thought that really counted.  The meal that they provided included quiche, lasagna, potato salad, cole slaw, and pringles.  It seems pretty American to me :)  The spread was wonderful but not as wonderful as the company.  Despite not being home for Thanksgiving I don't feel as lonely because of the kindness of the people of Westport, Ireland. 
Lovely cake that the school had made for us

Our Thanksgiving spread in the teachers lounge

1 comment:

  1. How very sweet of them! I loved seeing the kids and their pictures. We will miss you today, but so glad you are having this wonderful experience.